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Re: Self-descriptive assertions

From: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 15:07:27 -0500
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Cc: public-sw-meaning@w3.org
Message-ID: <20040322200727.GB11976@markbaker.ca>

Hi Dan,

On Mon, Mar 22, 2004 at 01:01:17PM -0600, Dan Connolly wrote:
> On Mon, 2004-03-22 at 12:30, Mark Baker wrote:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > I've got a simple requirement I need met, driven largely by my desire to
> > build RESTful Semantic Web apps.
> Could you be more specific? What sort of app has this requirement?

It's just your run-of-the-mill SemWeb app.  We've just chosen to use
the REST architectural style to develop it because we think it's a great
guide.  So given the option of a self-descriptive solution to a problem,
versus a non-self-descriptive one, we'll almost always opt for the
former.  Hence my attempt to find a self-descriptive solution to this

> If you GET some text that says
> 	The world is flat.
> You can sorta tell from common sense that it's not asserted...
> unless it was written a _long_ time ago. But if you find
>  	Four out of five dentists recommend trident
> 	for their patients who chew gum.
> You don't really know if it's in jest or serious without poking around.

Of course.  You'll get no argument from me that this ambiguity isn't
omnipresent for humans.  But I believe it's problematic for automata.

> Similarly, most RDF data that published in a way that the
> author expects others to believe enough to act on has
> dc:creator link or some such.

I don't think "believe enough to act on" has anything to do with the
issue I'm raising.  Whether some agent wants to run out and buy SUNW
based on my prediction that it'll reach $200 next month is none of my
business as an RDF publisher.  I'm just interested in communicating that
I *made* such a prediction, versus, for example, just stating a
prediction of somebody else, or serving up random triples.  AFAICT,
currently, those two states are indistinguishable from a messaging POV
(i.e. communicating both via HTTP GET & RDF uses the same message).

If there's another way I should be handling stuff like that, I'm all
ears.  I don't see that dc:creator is anything special, nor do I feel
that any type of predicate should be special, because it itself may
turn out to be a non-asserted predicate.

> Er... you somehow want to get a widespread understanding that
> some RDF is asserted, but you want to short-circuit the process
> of getting widespread agreement. I don't see how to do that.

I only want to short-cut the mechanism, not the process, by declaring
that all application/rdf+xml-described documents are asserting their
graphs.  That leaves the door open for other media types to be used to
do things differently in the future.

Mark Baker.   Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.        http://www.markbaker.ca
Received on Monday, 22 March 2004 14:59:49 UTC

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